Svetambara Enthroned Jina, with Attendant Yaksha and Yakshi
ca. second half of the 11th century
Copper alloy inlaid with silver and copper
H. 11 1/2 in. (29.2 cm)
Purchase, Anonymous Gift, 1992
Not on view
The jina is represented as a supreme yoga and acharya, an illustrious religious teacher. Elevated on a stepped cushioned throne supported by lions and elephants, symbols of bravery and strength, this tirthankhara embodies the Jain virtue of spiritual wisdom. An openwork back plate (now missing) would have evoked the heavenly palace in which he resides, accompanied by celestial adorers. His principal attendants—a seated yaksha and yakshi—flank the throne, and kneeling deer listen to the teachings symbolized by the wheel (dharmachakra) at the center of the throne pedestal. This icon was once gilded—traces can still be detected—in keeping with the desire that it emit a sacred aura like that achieved by light reflecting off gold. Indian religions have long seen the ability to absorb and radiate light as indicative of divinity.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Peaceful Conquerors: Jain Manuscript Painting," September 10, 2009–March 28, 2010.